Declaration of Insolence

by Alan Philips

In the course of a life, it becomes necessary sometimes, for a logical yet insane individual to dissolve his imaginary cultural restraints and reach for true fulfillment. He must assume a stance against the groupthink culture and declare his insolence. Forcing himself to a separate from those with the inability to think independently.

I, hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are not equal; some have the ability to think outside what they are told and some do not. We all have the option to assume our unalienable rights including life, liberty, intellectual freedom, intoxication in all forms, and the life-long pursuit of happiness and deliciousness. We must ignore the self-serving individuals and corporate entities that control the means of thought and good taste. They get their power from the consent of the masses: the group thinkers, with their nine-to-five jobs, Lean Cuisine dinners, chopped salads, fear of the unknown, and regular weekend visits to the Meatpacking District. Whenever any external forces—social media, boutique mayonnaise, five times distilled French vodka, little girls with oversized opinions—become destructive, it is the right of the independent thinkers to expose and abolish them. To call out the inauthentic; those who go to indie music festivals with Chanel bags and pretend to love Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros because someone told them it was “cool” at a has-been restaurant in Nolita. We built our foundation as a generation on the principle that no under-informed regurgitator of someone else’s thoughts shall tell us what to believe. So stop listening to US Weekly, ESPN, HBO, or Oprah and establish your own ideas. A sense of self will follow.

Take note: lifestyle and opinions should not be changed just for the sake of change. You may, if your lucky, have one, two, or ten truly original ideas in your lifetime.  Still make an attempt to take an accepted idea or taste and adapt it to your own sensibilities. Accordingly, my experience has shown me that Riesling, for the most part, tastes like pond water. In my mind it must be abolished, along with empanadas at pizza restaurants and all foods that originated in Great Britain. People like the Real Housewives of New Jersey will always be disposed to suffering; it is up to us to decide if we want to watch them suffer from their self-imposed evils (specifically that spooky tranny/cougar Dannielle and her band of bumbling idiots). When a long train of abuses, such as oversized Asian restaurants, City Center Las Vegas, and too many seasons of Entourage with the same weak storyline take place, it is our right, our duty, to stop these abuses of good taste. We have been patiently suffering and now we must stop them and go to Brooklyn, if not for the bowling, a microbrew or to be open-minded, then just to have a hamburger at Peter Lugers or a Blue Ribbon French Bread Pizza. The current Kings of Hospitality & Entertainment—the Shake Shacks, the Dos Caminos, and the MTVs—are in transition because of the freedom and thought inspired by the flow of information. This freedom is creating sub-cultures and movements in direct objection to a tyranny over our palettes and our minds. In response and in honor of the coming holiday, I, Cocktail Man, declare the following this 4th of July:

Honesty. We will all try the recently opened and soon-to-be-opened Food Halls. The latest attempt by mega-chefs to bring us gourmet markets and cafeterias may be the most honest thing they have attempted in years. Rather than pretending to be in the restaurants, they actually opened really good cafeterias. What’s the difference between a mega restaurant, a Disney theme park, and a cafeteria other than the style of service? When you feed over 250 people at a time, you run a cafeteria. So enjoy Todd English’s Food Hall at The Plaza and look forward to Batali’s Eataly and even Chodorow’s Food Parc. Honesty is always the best policy.

Loyalty. We will watch this season of Entourage for as long as it is bearable only because of the previous pleasure it has given us. E is getting married, Ari is a bloated success, and Vince is just a movie star; we might as well be watching Brothers and Sisters. I am just waiting for Drama to come out of the closet and start dating a studio exec for a job. At least then it would be like real life.

On to the next one, on to the next one. We will not get excited about burger joints anymore. Shake Shack will be the next McDonalds; it will probably be bought or financed by them like Pret-A-Manger. The writing is on the wall. Little known fact: Pop Burger was first, but like Yahoo to Google, first mover advantage is a misnomer. What matters is who executes best. 

Cultural Terror. We will all stop watching the Real Housewives of whatever city they are from.  They are like cultural terrorists sent to poison our society with bad plastic surgery and overt materialism.

Take the money and run. We will not feel bad for Conan O'Brien. I saw him perform and he is not funny, period. His opener actually embarrassed him with how much funnier he was. Conan sang some ridiculous songs and whined about being paid like $50 million to leave NBC. Conan, if I got paid that much and had your talent, I would be on a yacht in the Mediterranean being fed grapes and buying stock in Shake Shack. To reference the Daniel Craig pre-bond indie flick, “life is a layer cake.” You got shit on, so you had to shit on George Lopez and take TBS?

Who needs religion when you have technology. We will all thank Apple, Google, and Facebook for forever changing, bettering, and complicating our lives. I am looking forward to watching you compete for global domination over the next couple of years. Facebook Mail.  Google Me Social Network. iWorld by Steve Jobs aka the Messiah. Ain’t Capitalism grand? 

Another 1 Of A Kind. We will be legitimately excited for Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva’s new restaurant and nightclub in the old Nell’s space, which is supposedly opening in August. Steve Lewis designed it and swears it is his best work to date. Patrick Robertson is managing it, with angst from his former employer, Strategic Group. If anyone doesn’t know, with Jayma leaving Cain Leisure and Patrick with the 1 Oak group, there is a game of nightlife musical chairs going on. Where it stops nobody knows, but either way I guarantee it will be filled with so many hoes, hoooooeeees.

Downtown UN. We will officially annex SoHo to Europe. No area in the entire United States is more excited about the World Cup. SoHo should be a diplomatic zone, like part of the United Nations.

Fair weather fans. We will really enjoy watching whichever teams come out the winner in this year’s NBA free agency aka C’mon LeBron. King James was seen at Avenue with Mary J. Blige last week, so watch out for a star player coming to a nightclub and restaurant near you.

Hotels, motels, no Holiday Inns. We will no longer plan vacations without using, the Gilt Groupe’s travel service. Having Sample sales for hotels is one of the best and most effective ideas to hit the travel industry in years. The ability to move the first room blocks at lower rates and generate cash flow takes the guess work out of the hotel business. You can now fill slow periods and hold out for premium rates for last minute travelers. It is a brilliant approach.  It can also become very dangerous for the industry. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Indulge. We will all eat a lobster roll and hot dog this weekend, along with something absurdly sweet and a crisp, cold beer. It is the 4th of July and nothing says independence like indulgence.

Do you. We will keep blogging and coming up with new ideas. We will not become our parents and grandparents, we will become ourselves. If you want to move to the suburbs, go to a country club, drive a Mercedes minivan, and wear a designer polo shirt your bored wife got you at the Miracle Mile, please stop reading NOW! You are probably missing an episode of the Real Housewives of “you might as well be in a coma", live vicariously through Entourage.


Slow down, you crazy child, you're so ambitious for a juvenile. But if you're so smart, tell me, why are you still so afraid? Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? You'd better cool it off before you burn it out. You've got so much to do and only so many hours in a day.  But you know that when the truth is told, you can get what you want or you can just get old. You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through.

Don’t worry, you're doing fine. You can't be everything you want to be before your time, it will be so romantic, thinking of you under the fireworks Sunday night. Too bad but it's the life you lead you're so ahead of yourself that you forget what you need. Though you can see when you're wrong, you know, you can't always see when you're right.

You've got your passion, you've got your pride but don't you know that only fools are satisfied? Dream on, and imagine they'll all come true.

One day you will realize; true independence, can only come from within you.


Happy July 4th and see you next time at Cocktail Hour, where more often than not one drink turns into ten and no one knows where and when the night will end.

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